By Barry Janoff
(Originally Published in MediaPost)
March 28, 2017: According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, people ate more than 19.4 million hot dogs in MLB stadiums last year, a figure that could rise this season; and on average each hot dog vendor sold about 150 hot dogs per MLB game — 10,000-12,000 hot dogs per season.
Among all of its marketing alliances, MLB has never had an official hot dog. Until now.
MLB has signed a deal naming New York-based Nathan’s Famous Inc. as the league’s official hot dog.
"A game doesn’t feel complete without enjoying a hot dog," Wayne Norbitz, executive board member and former president and COO for Nathan’s, said in a statement.
Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed.
Under terms of the deal, Nathan’s gets use of MLB trademarks in advertising, which the company said it would use to support the alliance. Nathan’s has already unveiled a sweeps to "grant one lucky dog the chance of a lifetime" — winning a trip to the MLB All-Star Game this July in Miami — as well as a potential umbrella tag, "Nathan’s and MLB: Two American Originals."
Nathan’s also becomes an official supporter of MLB’s "Play Ball" platform, which promotes participation in baseball and softball.
Activation during baseball season makes beyond the ballpark.
Americans eat seven billion hot dogs during peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day — 818 hot dogs per second, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
The brand, founded in 1916 in Brooklyn, NY — its original Coney Island home is at the corner of Surf and Stillwell, also named after its founders, Nathan and Ida Handwerker Way — said it currently has deals with several MLB teams, including the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
Although the deal boosts Nathan’s visibility among baseball fans, it does not give it access into stadiums or with team’s that have their own hot dog deals.
Aramark, Levy and Delaware North are among the food service providers working with MLB stadiums to supply hot dog variations. Some teams have alliances with local companies.
People who attended Los Angeles Dodgers games in Dodger Stadium last season consumed the most hot dogs in MLB, more than 2.6 million last year — including the iconic Farmer John Dodger Dog — according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
The Yankees were second, with more than 1.55 million hot dogs consumed, followed by the Cleveland Indians (more than 1.25 million), Texas Rangers (1.2 million) and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs (more than 1 million).
Nathan’s Famous 101st Anniversary Hot Dog Eating Contest is scheduled for July 4 (ESPN).
According to Eric Mittenthal, president for NHDSC, "There are challengers galore, but hot dogs remain king of the concession stand. From childhood through old age there are two things guaranteed to put a smile on your face: baseball and hot dogs. It’s the perfect combination."
NHDSC is currently running its 5th Annual Hot Dog Madness Bracket to determine which MLB team offers the best hot dog and sausage experience. The top dog will be named on April 3. (Details here.)
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